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The Wander Society

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,220 ratings  ·  210 reviews
verb  \ˈwän-dər\
to walk/explore/amble in an unplanned or aimless way with a complete openness to the unknown
Several years ago when Keri Smith, bestselling author of Wreck This Journal, discovered cryptic handwritten notations in a worn copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, her interest was piqued. Little did she know at the time that those simple markings would
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Penguin Books
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Karen This is non-fiction filled with various artifacts and handwritten sections as well as typed portions. I had never heard of this society and thought it…moreThis is non-fiction filled with various artifacts and handwritten sections as well as typed portions. I had never heard of this society and thought it was super interesting. It was a very quick read!(less)

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3.76  · 
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 ·  1,220 ratings  ·  210 reviews

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Apr 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
DNF at 30%
I started reading this on a recommendation from a blogger I really enjoy. It was so pretentious. Like, upper middle class, white, hipster pretentious. If you OMG LOVE Whitman, Kerouac, or any of those types, you might enjoy this as they seem to be presented as gods to be worshiped (Yes, I've read them). The concept was interesting but the presentation had my eye roll game on point. As someone who has traveled, and lives for the experience of travelling over the destination, it just did
Lewis Szymanski
Jun 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
Interesting subject, terrible presentation. A patronizing and pretentious book about how walking, daydreaming, being bored, and reading are better for your brain than sitting in front of a screen coveting material possessions. If you don't already know that, this book won't change your life, because you will never read it. I guess I thought this would be a Mary Roach like book on the topic. Instead, I got a bunch of haphazard personal notes on her research of The Wander Society. The Wander Socie ...more
Beatriz Andrea Fernandez
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: activity-books
I have been waiting for this book to come out with eager anticipation. I live in the Philippines so the release date in America doesn't apply and I am still waiting for the hard copies to arrive on the shelves of my bookstores. But I am not very patient when it comes to book and bought a Kindle version on the day of the release. I proceeded to finish it within 24 hours.

Keri Smith has talked of synchronicity often in her works, and this is one of those great synchronous moments in my life, becaus
Jess (Primrose)
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.." Thoreau's words; not mine, but I love to claim the message of living deliberately and am embarking on taking in inspiration to cultivate this. That is why I was pleased to see this book pop up in my Instagram feed from the publisher's blog (Penguin). I have a lot of mixed thoughts on this book. Overall, I liked it and the message it promotes. It was one that I have been mulling over and found that I have been a wanderer; I just didn' ...more
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
The New Dead Poet's Society. I loved this book. It inspires people to get back to nature, slowing down, enjoying literature, getting to know yourself and making your own adventures. Definitely will be rereading and referencing.
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone!
Recommended to Becca by: Heather
Great little book about wandering through nature and reconnecting to our environments. Includes a variety of simple experiments to "creatively disrupt everyday life." Using our powers of observation and openness, we can fill the hole left in us from a life ruled by technology. I really loved just taking a breather and noticing all of the little things around me as I wandered. I wandered through a small patch of woods beside my house; I wandered around a lake and a marina; I wandered around the e ...more
Apr 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
I can get behind a lot of the ideas in this book, just not how the whole thing was packaged. It just felt way too gimmicky and fake for me to ever really like it.
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
Abandoned 15% of the way into the audiobook. Gushy, new agey twaddle.
Apr 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This book sounded intriguing and imaginative when the publisher brought it to my attention. And it was all of that. But for some reason it left me a little cold in the end. To me it seemed a little too clever by half; all the mystery of the Wander Society, its membership and activities. And I didn't care for the new age sensibility of it all either

But that seems a bit harsh. I am not exactly the creative or crafty type. I am a reader and a critic. I like to think about abstract things and argue
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. I read a blurb somewhere about this book and thought it sounded interesting, but instead I found it silly and pretentious. As I was reading I kept thinking I'd turn a page and discover that the whole thing was a joke in the manner of The Onion - for instance, this quote - "R and I have created our own Wander Society message station (old log with holes in it). We have been using it to communicate with each other. Tiny notes hidden in the holes." For heaven's sake, send a letter via ...more
Nicola Mansfield
DNF - I don't usually review my DNF's here but doubt there will be many from a Christian point of view so thought I'd include it for those interested in my perspective.

I read the first half and skimmed the second. This book is all new-agey and *NOT* for Christians. I totally agree with her goal just not how she advises getting there. She has no God in her life so goes into all sorts of "spiritual" nonsense to make up for the lack of the Holy Spirit in her life. Walk, ramble, wander but keep you
Casi Stansbury
May 06, 2016 rated it liked it
I have such mixed feelings about this book. It was a cool idea, it is put together so wonderfully with all the pictures and stuff. But the writing was very cheesy at times and there were many things that I just did not agree with, but that's not the author's fault!

The Wander Society was quite intriguing and it will change how I do some things. I wanted to love this book so badly, but I was just okay.
Apr 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
I did not know exactly what to expect when I got this book, but I expected something interesting. Instead, I found a collection of documents with a tiny bit of original writing, writing that sounds like an attempt to reassure the writer that they are enlightened to the truth in life.

This book, if you are to call it that, is mostly a collection of Wander Society documents. There is very little connective tissue bringing everything together. The author's notes are personal in nature but extremely
Elisabeth Casén Pihl
This is a book you use. You never actually finish it, because it is like a guidebook to your life. It's vital to me now.
Najwa Sahmarani
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the experience and admired how everything is put together yet I found a lot of the writing to be so cheesy. What I loved the most were the suggested random experiences and the possibility of learning from the TWS to create similar real life experiences for a cause. Not a very deep book, but easily read and definitely gives a good breath of freshness.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
It's funny that I picked this book up in an almost eerily similar way in which the author suggests when entering a library or bookstore-I was in the Florence, Italy train station waiting for my train to Venice. My wife was browsing some Italian books(since she can speak Italian) and I was browsing the English books-i was looking in the fiction section and saw the bright yellow binding on the book-took or out looked it over and then put it back. Browsed all through the English fiction section and ...more
Castle Spooktacular
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books
I love Keri Smith's conceptual intentions with her books. She helps you get back in touch with your genuine self and shows easy examples of ways to find mindful moments within a chaotic world.

I applaude her perspective and originality to help the reader reach realms of their lives that they may not have known to exist otherwise. I love all of the books she has published so far and have read many and own a few of them myself "Wreck This Journal", "Pocket Scavenger", and "Imaginary World Of....".
Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
Such a beautifully designed book! Keri Smith is so creative!

This book is about an actual organization called "The Wander Society" established around 2011, the author stumbled on their name and message in a used bookstore, and from then on, she followed the signs and info she gathered to form this book. Which is mainly about disconnecting from social media and wandering around, exploring the world around us and inside of us. Sort of like meditation.

Gwen Delmore
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found mention of this book in one of Austin Kleon's newsletters, and it intrigued me. I ordered it from the library and found it even more intriguing. It is about wandering, something I used to do and had forgotten about, or even become a little afraid to do (for various reasons). Reading the book brought up many memories of times when I was a wanderer, and it's ignited my desire to take it up again.

I am being purposefully vague, because the book is an experience, and one should discover it fo
Victoria Smith
Why haven't I read this sooner? I swear as I read through it, I felt like she and I were twins separated at birth. So much in common in our perspective and even the kinds of little adventures we love to create and share. The way she designed the book is flat out brilliant. It reminds me a bit of the book "S" or Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, incorporating a secondary narrative within the main narrative ~ with a parallel line of commentary in the footnotes. If you follow the little clues in the ...more
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really pulled a lot of inspiring, thought provoking tips for developing my wandering skills! So easy these days to get caught in planned routine and this book really motivates the reader to break the mold.
I will admit at some points she gets a little out there with the "make yourself disappear" or "finding the secret wander society" but some people might tune into that too.
Shannon Finck
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
I find this book charming and its message valuable, but unless thinking about how you move through or inhabit physical space is brand new to you, read Rebecca Solnit instead.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Its an exploration to a deeper mind and inner creative, wander and calm voice. Loved this gift. :D ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
A book about going for a walk and being mindful while doing so, all couched in the story of a person discovering an heretofore unknown secret society of mindful, free thinking, walkers. It goes to great lengths in its presentation to sell the idea. There are 'handwritten' margin notes, found papers and objects, links to twitter feeds and youtube videos that are there, online, as described.
I just read a book by John Michael Greer about secret societies. Wander Society is a perfect illustration of
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am a curious creature and this little gem sings to my soul! As a long-standing admirer of Walt Whitman, the essence of what Smith has crafted clearly taps into the very spirit not only of The Wander Society but anyone who responds to the 19th Century American Transcendental movement (which I believe has never faded & is continued by those who actually "get" it). The unedited publication works (not sure if this isn't a bit of marketing contrivance or true stream of consciousness left for pr ...more
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
As someone who has recently discovered the joys of hiking and outdoor adventures. this book was fun to read! It presents itself as a mystery: what is The Wander Society and what does Walt Whitman have to do with it? Ultimately, the book is a challenge to pay attention to our lives: where we go, what we do, who we interact with, etc. We sleep walk through our lives and, in doing so, we miss so much! If you enjoy creativity, but don't think you are a part of that club, read this book. It captured ...more
Jakob Masic
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have been wandering around for the last 20 years , and it seems I have been apart of a secret society. I have always felt that there were plenty of souls out there contributing to the energy of life, and after reading this little book I'm happy to discover how serious this is becoming.
Certain sections of this book I found somewhat unnessary. Instructions on how to build necklaces, baskets, etc...
All you need is to walk, and walk with a purpose. I'd like to leave this with a quote I recently
May 04, 2016 rated it liked it
After the intro and foreward, the book becomes rather tedious and redundant until almost half-way through. After making it that far, the story and society becomes more interesting overall. While I believe that wandering is really great for your mind and body, I don't totally buy in to needing to have the secret society around it. That just becomes elitist.

Yes, I did call the phone number. I will likely visit the website. Curiousity.

I vote Lemony Snicket.

Oh, and, fyi, the text is rather small.
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Fiction presented as nonfiction. A story about a self-organizing group that is, as best I can guess, an attempt to get readers to self-organize into the fictional group described in sod story. Silly craft projects, and a transparent framing story about the author "discovering" this hidden society and hunting for evidence of their activities. I wish I had that $20 back.
Super, super cool! Part philosophical memoir, part investigation into a mysterious secret society that includes famous thinkers (wanderers) like Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde.

for more thoughts (+ a GIVEAWAY!) head over to The Pretty Good Gatsby!
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Keri Smith is an author/illustrator turned guerilla artist. She has several bestselling books, including Wreck This Journal, This is Not a Book, How To Be An Explorer of the World, Mess, Finish this Book, and The Wander Society all published by Penguin Books. Read more at her website http://WWW.KERISMITH.COM
“When we constantly fill up all our "empty" time with stimulation in the form of electronic devices, games, and distractions, our brains become disengaged and the thinking process is effectively halted. We never get to hear our own inner voice-we don't develop a relationship with ourselves and our minds. We don't get to know who we are because we're not listening.” 7 likes
“Let us remember that things are not what make us fulfilled. Experiences are.” 1 likes
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